8 December 2016 § 1 Comment
On Monday night, I was enjoying Christmas treats with a few other students at the home of one of the gastroenterologists who went on the Haiti trip in the spring. His family has two cute dogs, and one of them scratched my hand. It hurt a little, but it is a small scratch. That night, I had a dream that I was in the hospital, extremely unwell with dog scratch fever (my imagination’s variation on cat scratch fever) and experiencing acute renal failure as a result of the antibiotics—a twist that doubtless comes from my chat with a patient last year who was experiencing that very consequence.
I am tired from three hours of reading PE scans for a radiology project after a long day of class and wards visits, and I need a break before I return to renal physiology for a few hours before bed, so I’m thinking about some other dreams I have had during school.
During one dream, I was at my cardiology professor’s birthday party, and, to imagine this properly, you must know who this magical manlet is. Many an inch less towering than I, he is a wonderful professor, even if his trousers are far too long and his sneakers unnaturally squeaky and white. He was wearing a party hat in my dream and I think there was confetti and some sort of pastel-coloured cake with sprinkles. I don’t remember who else was at the party except for a lanky electrophysiologist who delivered one lecture to us at some point and one of my school friends, whom we are always trying to convince to marry our dear cardio professor (who cannot be more than 35 years old) so that his name and beautiful spirit may live on in even tinier manlets.
Another dream involved contracting the dreaded bladder cancer after years of failing to take praziquantel after unscrupulous days of swimming in Lake Malawi. Luckily I awoke and promptly avoiding this catastrophe by having Grace send her extra drugs to me and checked the correct dosing before swallowing a oddly cut pill. This incident makes it easy for me to remember the preventive treatment for schistosomiasis.
There were several other silly dreams last year, and I have forgotten most of them, but one I remember clearly. I was lying on my group’s table in the anatomy lab, second from the back left corner, draped in a blanket and feeling the cold metal of the table pressing up against my body. My cadaver, whom we had named Larry (although I always called him Lawrence, much more dignified) was standing next to the table and holding my hand. I actually treasure this dream; the hand to me seems the most human thing of the body, and I often gazed at and even rested my own hand upon Lawrence’s hand during lab. Hands sense the lightest pressure, they are capable of the most delicate movements, and they can impart gentleness and warmth to others. I think this fascination of mine made the limbs block full of wonder in that respect; it was an intimate partnership to hold another’s hand in my own and slowly explore all of the delicate workings of its interior. I never offered my reflections at our ceremony at the end of anatomy for the cadavers who had generously given their bodies for us to learn from. My quiet thoughts during lab, along with my dream, are enough to make me remember the vitality I envisioned in my cadaver, contemplating the long and, to me, unknown life he lived and seeing the sum of his years in his marvellously knitted limbs and organs that I held in my hands.